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This article is so good I pass it along with minimally invasive commentary. The author, Angelo Codevilla, discusses how America now historically resembles other nations and city-states from the past which endured revolutionary spirals of cultural division and heated partisanship that ended grimly for the native populations.
Prior to the 2016 election I explained how America had already “stepped over the threshold of a revolution,” that it was “difficult to imagine how we might step back, and futile to speculate how it might end.” Regardless of who won the election, its sentiments’ growing “volume and intensity” would empower politicians on all sides sure to make us nostalgic for Donald Trump’s and Hilary Clinton’s moderation. Having begun, this revolution would follow its own logic.
What follows dissects that logic. It has unfolded faster than foreseen. Its sentiments’ spiraling volume and intensity have eliminated any possibility of “stepping back.”
We crossed the Rubicon with the election of Trump, an event which shitlibs have been unable to countenance or reconcile.
Regardless of these elections’ outcome, however, this “resistance” has strengthened and accelerated the existing revolutionary spiral. We begin with a primer on such spirals, on the logic of mutual hate that drives them, and on their consequences; move to a general description of our evolution’s driving logic, describe the 2016 elections as the revolutionary spiral’s first turn and the “resistance” thereto as the second. Then we examine how the “resistance” affects the other side, and how this logic might drive our revolution’s subsequent turns. […]
Thus does Thucydides’ account of how revolutionary logic manifests itself in personal behavior echo through the ages—an account that strikes Americans in October, 2018 as all too familiar: “men too often take upon themselves in the prosecution of their revenge to set the example of doing away with those general laws to which all alike can look for salvation in adversity, instead of allowing them to subsist against the day of danger when their aid may be required.”
The more freely to harm enemies, “words had to change their ordinary meaning and to take that which was now given them.” […]
The American republic’s essence had been self-restraint toward fellow citizens deemed equals. The Constitution of 1787 had been its paradigm. Under its words and by its laws, Americans had enjoyed safety and predictability for themselves and their way of life. But Progressives’ subordination of the Constitution, laws, and institutions to their own purposes and for their own primacy ended all that. The rest of America’s increasing realization that only fire can fight fire has followed naturally.
This is our revolution: Because a majority of Americans now no longer share basic sympathies and trust, because they no longer regard each other as worthy of equal consideration, the public and private practices that once had made our Republic are now beyond reasonable hope of restoration. Strife can only mount until some new equilibrium among us arises.
The question we will want an answer for soon is this: HOW will the new equilibrium arise? History is made in the foregoing tumult.
The logic that drives each turn of our revolutionary spiral is Progressive Americans’ inherently insatiable desire to exercise their superiority over those they deem inferior. With Newtonian necessity, each such exercise causes a corresponding and opposite reaction. The logic’s force comes not from the substance of the Progressives’ demands. If that were the case, acquiescing to or compromising with them could cut it short. Rather, it comes from that which moves, changes, and multiplies their demands without end. That is the Progressives’ affirmation of superior worth, to be pursued by exercising dominance: superior identity affirmed via the inferior’s humiliation. It is an inherently endless pursuit.
The logic is rooted in disdain, but not so much of any of the supposed inferiors’ features or habits. If it were, the deplored could change their status by improving. But the Progressives deplore the “deplorables” not to improve them, but to feel good about themselves. Hating people for what they are and because it feels good to hate them, is hate in its unalloyed form.
One of the more astute descriptions of progressives and their motives. It’s why I, and others, have written that shitliberalism is essentially humiliation porn.
Once people no longer see any good common to all, justice for each becomes identical with advantage. The only good or justice that prevails is the good or justice of the stronger. As Plato points out in Book I of The Republic, far from being a rare phenomenon, this is mankind’s default state.
America has regressed to the unexceptional default state of mankind. Perhaps it was fated.
Hence, among us as well, subjection by force is replacing conviction by argument.
Doxing, deplatforming, demonetizing, and de-personing are subjection by force replacing conviction by argument. The Left, in command of nearly all the pathways of information flow, has gleefully abused their power to silence the oppositions’ arguments.
[The big bank bailouts of the 2008 financial crisis] forced the recognition that there exists a remarkably uniform, bipartisan, Progressive ruling class; that it includes, most of the bureaucracies of federal and state governments, the judiciary, the educational establishment, the media, as well as major corporate officials; that it had separated itself socially, morally, and politically from the rest of society, whose commanding heights it monopolized; above all that it has contempt for the rest of America, and that ordinary Americans have no means of persuading this class of anything, because they don’t count.
Steve Bannon has remarked that the seed of Trump’s rise to power was the 2008 bank bailouts.
Our time’s sharp distinction between rulers and ruled, the ever decreasing interchange and sympathy between them, is rooted in the disdain for ordinary Americans that the universities have sown since the Civil War. Ordinary Americans and their rulers are alienated now in ways unimaginable to the Northerners and Southerners who killed each other a century and a half ago, but who nodded when Abraham Lincoln noted that they “prayed to the same God.”
It should be of great concern that the divisions prior to Civil War I pale in comparison to those we have today. The ingredients are already in the mixing bowl; all that’s left is to add the explosive reagent to set off the chain reaction to Civil War II.
Donald Trump was out of central casting—seemingly a caricature of what the ruling class said about its opponents. But the words he spoke were less significant than that he spoke with angry contempt for the ruling class. That—and the crowded field that never allowed a head-to-head choice—is what got him the chance to be the alternative to the ruling class. And that is what got him elected President of the United States.
Trump capitalized on elite infighting and status jockeying.
Those who voted for Trump believing or hoping that he would do a, b, or c, were fewer than those who were sure that he offered the only possibility of ending, or at least pausing, the power of an increasingly harmful, intolerant, disdainful, socio-political identity. In 2016 one set of identities revolted against another. That was the revolution’s first turn.
The ruling class’s “resistance” to the 2016 election’s outcome was the second turn. Its vehemence, unanimity, coordination, endurance,and non-consideration of fallback options—the rapidity with which our revolution’s logic has unfolded—have surprised and dismayed even those of us who realized that America had abandoned its republican past.
The “resistance” subsequent to the election surprises, in part, because only as it has unfolded have we learned of its scope prior to the election. All too simply: the U.S government’s upper echelons merged politically with the campaign of the Democratic Party’s establishment wing, and with the media. They aimed to secure the establishment candidates’ victory and then to nullify the lost election’s results by resisting the winners’ exercise of legitimate powers, treating them as if they were illegitimate. The measure of the resistance’s proximate success or failure would come in the 2018 elections.
Non-governmental parts of the ruling class are full partners in the “resistance,” often in partnership with government, from which they draw money directly or via special treatment, with the support, of course, of the media. Planned Parenthood, the Southern Poverty Law Center, the NAACP, and countless other such groups have helped restrict the 2016 election’s effects by an unending stream of lawsuits and “reports,” amplified by the press, that have intensified attacks on the politically incorrect.
The People’s voice will be silenced. It’s for their own good.
The revolutionary import of the ruling class’ abandonment of moral and legal restraint in its effort to reverse election results cannot be exaggerated. Sensing themselves entitled to power, imagining themselves identical with legitimacy, “those general laws to which all alike can look for salvation in adversity“—here the US Constitution and ordinary civility—are small stuff to them.
Their ruling class’s behavior regarding Judge Brett Kavanaugh’ nomination to the Supreme Court has been a further, epochal step in this regard.
The Kavanaugh character assassination will turn out to be a critical event in the lead-up to Civil War 2. I doubt Kav himself understands the importance of what he suffered.
In 1919, a member of the Russian Duma had asked: “Comrade, is this just?” Lenin famously answered: “Just? For what class?” Forty years later, in similar circumstances, Fidel Castro delivered the dime store version: “Within the revolution, everything. Against the revolution, nothing.” In 2018 our ruling class, in unison, set out to destroy all but the biological life of a political adversary. It substituted vehement assertion for truth, cast aside argument, foreclosed questions, celebrated its own deed and vowed to persist in it. Asked whether what they were doing was right, Senators Booker and Hirono answered directly—the others did so indirectly—that this was the right way to proceed with a person whose jurisprudence was so objectionable. Whether they know whose footsteps they are following matters little.
Who, whom? It’s happening again.
In short, the “resistance” has begun to radicalize middle America. It redoubled millions of Americans’ sense of siege, their fear of unbridled rule by unaccountable powers, of being accused of “hate speech,” of normal life made impossible by Progressive socio-political demands. It confirmed the sense that Donald Trump and such as he, whatever their faults, are all that stands between themselves and having an alien way of life imposed upon them.
Unlike Kavanaugh, I believe Trump understands all too well his historical significance, what he stands against, and the hopes he embodies. And so we pray for an encampment of twelve legions of angels to shield him from the evil which has cloaked America.
While it is by no means clear how these voters will respond in 2018 and 20, surely, the “resistance” sharpened in them the revolutionary logic that dictates repaying outrages with compound interest, and revived the question that drove the 2016 election: what does it take to counter all this? Countering the ruling class as it has evolved through the resistance is the third turn of our revolution’s spiral. […]
Trump’s rousing speeches feed the body politic as empty calories feed the human body. Bluster followed by surrender has political legs both short and shaky. Trump’s tone has lifted his constituencies’ expectations. But tone does not give substance to public opinion, poses but a flimsy barrier to the ruling class’s concerted power, and does not begin to satisfy constituencies threatened by the ruling class machine that came of age in the anti-Kavanaugh campaign.
I have predicted that Trump will act more forcefully on his agenda in the second half of his presidency, when, presumably, the Russia Hoax albatross won’t be hanging around his neck.
Were the Democrats to regain a majority in the House of Representatives in 2018, there is no doubt that they would redouble the “resistance,” and that a substantial portion of the Senate’s Republican majority would be friendly to it. That would leave the 2016 electorate’s defense to Trump—who would be forced to fully deploy Presidential powers in that task or to abdicate it to whomever would campaign credibly to fully exercise those powers after the 2020 election. Such leadership having become necessary—by Trump or whomever—it would carry with it the conservative side of both Houses into sociopolitical stasis for the next two years. Whether Trump were the candidate or not, the 2020 elections would bid for a historic national clarification, and make the 2016 ones appear to have been for low stakes.
Were the Democrats to win the presidency in 2020, even Republican Congressional majorities—made up as they are of substantial “soft” elements—would be no barrier to an agenda about which no speculation is necessary. The revolution would flow along classic, predictable lines.
The consequences would depend on the extent to which the conservative side of American life rejected that presidency’s and its agenda’s legitimacy—and on how the ruling class would abide “resistance” to itself. What would a fully re-empowered ruling class that had tasted the possibility of dis-empowerment do to preclude anything like that ever happening again? How would it use the massive power that defines it and by which it defines itself? How would it marshal corporate power? How would it use the educational system? To what levels of demonization and repression would it descend? What license would it give to its affiliates to do what, to whom? […]
Nor does any side in our time truly believe in and practice self-restraint. For the Progressive side, it is anathema in principle as well as in practice. The conservatives, among whom the zealot’s taste for taking the speck out of the neighbor’s eye is not widespread, revere self-restraint in principle, but are learning to transgress against it in practice.
The Left has become intolerant from decades of cultural power. Uncompromising. If they win now, and again in 2020, they will crush dissent. If they lose, they will refuse conciliation. Either way, war in some form is coming to America. Once the anti-Left loses faith in their own restraint, the battlefield will finally erupt.
But, perhaps, after their offensive resistance’s failure, they might be reconciled to govern themselves as they wish in states where they command a majority, while not interfering with other Americans governing themselves in their way in the states where they are a majority.
It’s best for all of us if we are permitted to go our own way. America is a collective of separate nations; it’s just a formality to codify the fact.